Seven locals earn L-L medals

By on January 28, 2015
 Cocalico freshman Ben Fromm (top) scores some points during a match at the L-L League Tournament Saturday. Fromm was the top local finisher, placing third overall at 195 pounds. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico freshman Ben Fromm (top) scores some points during a match at the L-L League Tournament Saturday. Fromm was the top local finisher, placing third overall at 195 pounds. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Revenge is always pretty sweet. And when it comes with a medal on the line, the taste of victory is even better.

Such was the case for Cocalico freshman Ben Fromm Saturday at the L-L League Tournament at Garden Spot., who avenged his only loss of the tournament to earn a 5-2 decision over Warwick’s Avery Quinn and capture third place overall in the 195-pound weight class.

Fromm’s performance highlighted an outstanding medal round for Cocalico, which went a perfect 5-for-5 to claim five individual medals for the tournament. In addition to Fromm, Abdul Saad claimed fifth place at 182 pounds while Josiah Gehr (106), Nate Fritz (120) and Trevor Fichtorn (152) all captured seventh place medals at their respective weights.

“It was definitely a great way to end the tournament going 5-for-5 in the medal round,” Cocalico Coach Matt Fittery said. “It showed a lot of mental toughness from the boys because by the end of a long tournament they are tired and beat up, but they still wrestled hard and came through the last round.”

Ephrata finished with a pair of medalists for the weekend as sophomore Austin Jones earned fourth place at 106 while Cam Terry took seventh-place honors at 113.

Fromm (21-5), who would post a 5-1 record this weekend, opened the tourney Friday night with an 11-2 victory over Garden Spot’s Sam Mancuso. However, in the quarterfinals, Quinn (21-11) scored the lone point of the contest to squeeze out a 1-0 victory over the Cocalico freshman and send him to the consolations.

But the Eagle freshman responded with three straight wins to wrestleback into the third-place match and set up his rematch with Quinn, who dropped an 11-4 decision to eventual champion Ashton Leschke in the semifinals.

Fromm drew first blood this time with a second period escape, and carried that lead into the third. Then straight from the top position, Fromm turned Quinn for two back points, before putting it away with a big takedown with 50 seconds to go.

“I thought Ben Fromm wrestled a great tournament,” Fittery said. “He had one bad match, but luckily he was able to get a rematch against the same opponent and beat him the second time around. Fromm was much more aggressive that last match, and when he trusts his offense and gets after it he usually scores. To take third place as a freshman is very impressive, so we were very happy with him.”

Ephrata’s Jones (23-6) opened the tourney with a pair of impressive wins to earn a spot in the semifinals. First, he majored CV’s Trent Rider, 13-0 in the opening round, then earned another 9-1 major against Alex Puglio of Elco in the quarters.

However, Jones’ run for a possible gold ended when he was pinned by Penn Manor’s Jordan Harsh early in the third period of their semifinals match.

But Jones rebounded for a 6-5 victory over Zach Renninger of Annville-Cleona to earn a spot in the third-place bout opposite Pequea Valley’s Tanner Ball.

In the bronze medal match, Ball drew first blood with a second period takedown and carried the 2-0 lead into the third. Ball then escaped to open up a 3-0 cushion before Jones earned a key point on a locked-hands call to draw to within a takedown of tying it. Unfortunately, Jones never threatened again and settled for fourth with the 3-1 verdict.

“Austin wrestled well on his way to a fourth-place finish,” Ephrata Coach Josh Clair said. “I know he is not satisfied, but that is one of the best things about him. He is motivated to be the best and strives for bigger and better things. Just like last year 106 was a tough weight class so earning that fourth place finish is an accomplishment.”

Terry (18-14) defeated Penn Manor’s Brandon Miller 5-3 in the opening round before a pin by Lancaster Catholic’s Jon Lobeck sent him to the consolations. There, he picked up a 5-3 victory over Rueben Sanchez of Hempfield before he was beaten by Solanco’s Taylor Morrison.

That sent him into the seventh place match opposite Northern Lebanon’s Chris Zechman. Terry quickly took control, scoring a first period takedown before securing three additional back points in the second period to build a 5-0 lead. Zechman got three points back when he turned Terry from the top to start the third, but Terry scored a big reversal with 22 seconds left to seal a 7-3 victory and seventh place at 113.

“Cam wrestles whistle to whistle all the time,” Clair said. “It doesn’t matter if he is winning or losing he will battle until the very end. Even when things get interesting Cam seems to always be aware and does what he needs to win the match.”

Clair said in spite of the fact that his team had just two medal winners, they did some good things this weekend.

“We had a match or two where we lost focus for a brief moment, but as a whole we did some good things and kept wrestling the way we have the last few weeks,” he said. “We still have things to improve upon, but progress as a team is definitely being made.”

Cocalico’s Saad (22-5) earned the easiest win of the medal round when Jack Habowski of Lampeter-Strasburg forfeited to him in the fifth-place match. Saad finished the weekend at 3-2.

Gehr (17-14), Fritz (17-12) and Fichtorn (19-8) all were impressive with wins in their seventh place matches. Fritz escaped to start the third period and made that point earned stand as he captured a 1-0 victory over CV’s Pavel Dariychuk. And Fichtorn scored in all three periods to earn a 7-4 victory over Luis Negrerios of Northern Lebanon.

Gehr notched his seventh-place medal with a solid 4-1 victory over Donegal’s Austin Burkholder.

“I was also really impressed with Josiah Gehr,” Fittery said. “He beat a kid that he lost to earlier in the year, and his only losses were to guys who got second and third place.”

All in all, Fittery said it was a topsy-turvy weekend for his team.

“The rest of the boys had some good wins and some not so good losses,” he said. “So it was kind of an up and down tournament for us as a team. I think all the boys wrestled hard, but sometimes we won the close matches and sometimes we didn’t. That’s usually how it goes at a tough tournament like this though. Overall, it showed us that we are closing the gap, but we still have some work to do to get to the next level.”

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